In the late 1990s, it seemed everyone was reading the same book, The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve. On subways, buses, park benches and beaches, the dark-blue cover of Shreve's 1998 bestseller, an Oprah's Book Club Selection, peeked out of shoulder bags and pocket books, dog-eared, beloved. Shreve, the daughter of an airline pilot who grew up in Dedham, is by now the author of some seventeen novels, including The Weight of Water, made into a movie; the book was a finalist for England's prestigious Orange Prize in 1998. Her 2003 novel, Resistance, was turned into a film by the same name, starring Bill Paxton and Julia Ormond. In 2010, Shreve was awarded the first John P. Marquand Prize in American Literature. No surprise really, these awards: one of her first published stories, Past the Island, Drifting, won the O'Henry Award right off the bat in 1976. Her deeply varied life includes working as a journalist in Nairobi, Kenya, and teaching creative writing at a number of colleges. Stella Bain details the harrowing circumstances of a young wife and mother who flees an abusive husband in New Hampshire during the First World War and ends up an ambulance driver in France. During a German attack she is wounded and loses her memory. Most of the novel details the slow recovery of her identity which, as it turns out, is hampered by both the effects of war abroad and the one she had left behind at home.
Shreve will read from it on Tuesday, April 29, at 6:30 PM, at the South End Library. Seating is limited. Refreshments are served. Books are available for purchase and borrowing. The event is free. The South End library is fully handicapped accessible.
Speaking next at the South End branch of the Boston Public Library are:
Wednesday, May 14:
Pablo Medina, an acclaimed Cuban-American poet (The Man who Wrote on Water) and novelist, whose latest book, Cubop City Blues, just came out in paperback. The South End resident has received fellowships from the Oscar B. Cintas Foundation, state arts councils of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is a professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College.
South End author Wendy Wunder (The Probability of Miracles) will return to talk about her latest novel, due out in April 2014, called The Museum of Intangible Things. She teaches writing at the non-profit writing center, Grub Street, and yoga at various locations in the Boston area.
Tuesday, June 10:
William Landay, award-winning author of crime fiction including the New York Timesbestseller Defending Jacob, The Strangler and Mission Flats.